Hair, the Musical

My friend and I recently met at one of our favorite restaurants for lunch. It was one of the first times I had been out au natural : without the wig, I mean. I fidgeted and squirmed in my seat, half paying attention to what she was saying. “What is wrong with you?” she finally asked. “Nothing,” I lied. “I can tell. What's up?” “I am self-conscious, I guess. I hate my hair.” She sighed, and matter-of-factly said, “Girlfriend, you can’t complain about something you prayed for.” And she was right. I had spent most of the last year bald as an egg, shivering through the winter months and avoiding mirrors. Finishing chemo meant that I could regrow hair, which I considered a big deal. I expected th

The Lessons Learned

It has been a week of doctor appointments for me as both my medical and gynecological oncologists have reviewed my scan results, performed a physical exam, and ordered some additional blood work. They are thrilled with my outcome, of course, offering congratulations and hugs. I wonder how often they get to celebrate with a patient since theirs can be a challenging, sometimes hopeless field. I am happy to be a reminder that what they do is powerful and important. We discuss future monitoring and the removal of my port. I am gently told that while there is no cure for me, in all probability, there will be periods of good health when this disease is not present. Ideally, that could stretch int

Think Teal

For the third time this month I have answered a phone call soliciting for breast cancer research. The pink ribbons are out in the stores, decorating everything from coffee mugs to sweatshirts and bumper stickers. I look at the calendar. It is still September, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and I have yet to spot a commemorative teal token anywhere. The phone is silent when it comes to fund raising for the cause. I can’t help but wonder why there is so little focus on this important threat to women’s health. Like most people, I had very little understanding of the disease until I found myself sitting in my primary care physician’s office staring at the report of my CT scan. I had warning si

And I Brought You a Casserole

The woman born in the South has forever been synonymous with the Southern belle—a soft gauzy stereotype that personifies the “moonlight and magnolias” legend of the region. It’s a silly romanticized caricature that originated in books and movies. Remember Scarlet O’Hara? But honestly, it’s nowhere close to describing the strong, richly diverse women who have thrived because of—and in some cases, despite of—where they were raised. I’m proud to be one of them. We think differently below the Mason-Dixon Line on just about everything, including the way we drink our tea. (Iced and sweet, if you don’t mind.) We were brought up to be soft-spoken ladies, who could lead an army into battle. (Well, I

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